Cycle Wild wants you to get back to nature…by bike

Posted by on May 19th, 2009 at 12:13 pm

Riders enjoy a carfree, PGE maintenance road along the Clackamas river south of Estacada during a Cycle Wild camping ride earlier this month.
(Photos: Dan Liu)

It’s easy to wax poetic about the Pacific Northwest’s natural beauty, although some (including yours truly) have a more difficult time with the poetic part. Take Cycle Wild founder Matt Picio, for instance:

People, nature, and bikes. This
is the basic idea behind
Cycle Wild.

“What I love most is the combination of the scenery and to be able to experience it fully: feeling the wind in your face, feeling the sun, and being able to actually see what you’re riding past, things that you don’t get to see when you’re traveling 45mph.”

Ok, not exactly poetry, but for people that have an inkling about what bike touring or bike camping are, you get the idea. And, if you are at all curious about what it’d be like to go on a nice, long bike ride into the wilderness, then Cycle Wild is here to help.

Picio founded the non-profit Cycle Wild last year as a way to help people connect with nature without having to hop into their cars. “I got the idea, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to go out camping, and replace the SUV or RV with a bike?’”

Cycle Wild organizes and helps others organize camping rides within easy reach, what Picio calls a “rideshed.”

Cycle Wild founder Matt Picio
says there are 300 campgrounds
within Portland’s rideshed.

“A rideshed is basically the distance you can ride on a loaded bike on a summer day,” says Picio, “It’s approximately 80-90 miles, but our range is greatly extended by the MAX [light rail]. There are over 300 campgrounds within the Portland rideshed.”

Picio started Cycle Wild knowing there are a lot of people interested in bike camping, but that they needed a bit of extra encouragement and some guidance in order to get started. The point is to make the rides as accessible as possible to newcomers who want to learn more about biking, nature, and biking in nature.

“A rideshed is basically the distance you can ride on a loaded bike on a summer day. It’s approximately 80-90 miles, but our range is greatly extended by the MAX [light rail]. There are over 300 campgrounds within the Portland rideshed.”
— Matt Picio, Cycle Wild founder

Earlier this month, 13 Portlanders joined the Cycle Wild trip to Bagby Hot Springs. They rode out from the Cleveland Ave. MAX station in Gresham, down south through Boring and Estacada, up the Clackamas River and the side of Mt. Hood to the campsite. I tagged along for part of the trip, and although everyone had been on a Cycle Wild ride before, and knew each other from past trips, I quickly felt welcome.

“Usually, our capacity [as guides for the trips] is to look after the group, provide basic mechanical assistance, do sweeps for people that might have fallen behind, and make sure the slower or newer riders are doing OK,” said Cycle Wild’s Tomas Quiñones.

In addition to leading rides, Cycle Wild has also become a great resource for information. Not only have they published guides and led Pedalpalooza workshops on bike camping basics (the workshop this year is on June 17th), but they have produced a whole series of maps on Bikely.com. Picio and the other Cycle Wild directors are also working to establish hiker-biker campsites in parks that currently lack them, such as Barton Park in Clackamas County.

Eventually, Cycle Wild hopes to have volunteer instructors come along on rides, to teach riders about plant and animal identification, wilderness skills, route planning and navigation.

Cycle Wild’s next trip is up to Beacon Rock State Park, on the Washington side of the Bonneville Dam. You can browse Cycle Wild’s ride calendar, check out their guides to bike camping, and find out more about the group at their website, CycleWild.org.

NOTE: Thanks for sharing and reading our comments. To ensure this is a welcoming and productive space, all comments are manually approved by staff. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for meanness, discrimination or harassment. Comments with expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia will be deleted and authors will be banned.

15
Leave a Reply

avatar
15 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
12 Comment authors
Matt PicioLance P.Aprilcarye byeAdamG Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
the "other" steph
Guest
the "other" steph

great article! Cycle Wild and rock the rideshed.

Esther
Guest
Esther

Yeah! Three cheers to Cycle Wild! Got me out on a bike in the snow this January. 🙂

Matt Picio
Guest

One minor note: Cycle Wild doesn’t actually sponsor or lead rides, but promotes them. The rides themselves are led by individuals and promoted on Cycle Wild’s website.

Trips have been led in the past by Tomas Quinones, Lillian Karabaic and myself. I have another 10 or 11 camping trips lined up for this year, hope you can join!

Cycle Wild is also having another free “Bike Camping 101” class during Pedalpalooza on June 17th at 6:30pm in Colonel Summers park – hope to see you there!

frank
Guest
frank

Yeah Rock On! Lets ride on BOTH sides of the road!!!!!!! That will show those cagers.

Brad Reber
Guest
Brad Reber

Hi Frank. There are no “cagers” on a “carfree, PGE maintenance road”, but thanks for your enthusiasm.

Kevin
Guest

I was backpacking up at bagby earlier this month and my tent was right next to their group. It was great to see people riding up there. I was wondering who they were, but was a little too tired to feel like introducing myself.

jeff
Guest
jeff

LOL. Frank see picture, Frank freak out! Never mind the article, or say, the caption under the picture. Too funny.

Matt Picio
Guest

Kevin (#6) – Were you the guy on the waterfall side of us in the one-person tent? I thought about saying “hi” – I was going to ask if you were going to be hiking the wilderness trail, or if you were just up there for Bagby. Hope we didn’t keep you up.

Lillian
Guest

Just want to note that we had at least two people on the ride that were first-time Cycle Wild-promoted trippers, and one first-time bike camper.

carless in pdx
Guest
carless in pdx

I want to bike to the coast this weekend, but I’m not sure if I can get anyone to go with me. 🙁

AdamG
Guest
AdamG

It isn’t the lack of motor vehicles that makes overtaking by crossing a dashed centerline OK. It’s always legal.

carye bye
Guest
carye bye

does everyone have to wear red to go on these rides! JK 😉

Bike camping is way easier than you ever thought. If you bike everyday in Portland, can lug a few extra pounds, can handle wild animal sounds (okay inside joke). You can be on your way.

I haven’t been on Cycle Wild trips yet, but I have been on a 11 day bikecamping trip down the cali coast with Mr. Picio and others, and he’s a fine fine gentleman on the road, very knowledgeable, and is even crazy enough to carry a cooler with ice so he can have a home-cooked breakfast, while the rest of us have our muesli.

It’s been way too long since my last bike-camping trip.

April
Guest
April

I went up to Bagby a few days ago…but alas, I’m a wuss who lacks a granny gear, so it took us two days of riding to get up there. I can’t do 80 loaded miles in a day….forty is *really* pushing it.

When I have a job, a granny gear is way up on the list…

Lance P.
Guest
Lance P.

Does anyone know how to get ahold of this group? I would like to go on the trip to Beacon Rock State Park but I would like to ask question first. Their website currently doesn’t have a contact us link.

Matt Picio
Guest

Lance – email me at “matt” at “cyclewild.org” and I’ll be happy to answer any questions you have.

I’m trying to get a mailer page set up on the website so I don’t have to expose the email addresses of our directors to spam – I’ll try to get that up in the next day or two.